The Oxford Artisan Distillery


Launching a new sustainable English Rye Whisky

We partnered with The Oxford Artisan Distillery to help them define and launch their new rye whisky using organic heritage grains.

Rye whisky was a new category for the distillery and English Rye is new to most customers and consumers.

We worked with our partners Barfly, who conducted a range of in-depth interviews with bartenders on key themes and initial pack ideas. We took these learnings and looked at all the relevant and meaningful things we could say and show about the distillery – sustainability, biodiversity, organic, heritage grains, steampunk stills, Oxford, and the product itself – exploring rye’s American roots.

Our strategic thinking and brief provided Outlaw with strong platforms for creative development.

We briefed our design partners Outlaw to focus on two different areas: Oxford Rye Whisky and Riverman Rye. We gave them a clear direction and rich stimulus as we kicked off the creative with a collaborative session with the client, Cubo Drinks and Outlaw teams.

Everyone was delighted with the work that came back from Outlaw. Six routes that really challenged the initial thinking and showed that you can communicate the same idea and messages in a range of different ways.

We worked with Barfly to test the designs with consumers and found a clear winner.

We tested four of the designs with consumers. We wanted to know if consumers approved of the look and questioned them on our lead messages – Sustainability & Biodiversity & Heritage Grains. We learnt that the designs that incorporated cues of Americana were confusing, and people preferred an English Rye to look English.

Ultimately the trade research, at the start, helped validate the distillery’s move into Rye and gave us big themes to explore. The brief and stimulus gave Outlaw two directions to bring to life and the consumer research gave us and Outlaw a route to craft into the final Oxford Rye Whisky design.

Several months later the Oxford Artisan Distillery launched their first limited edition Oxford Rye whisky at a £95.00 price point. It sold out in hours.